Skip to main content

About this Show





San Francisco, CA, USA

Comcast Cable

Virtual Ch. 110 (CSPAN3)






U.s. 9, United States 9, China 5, Us 5, Brazil 2, Etc. 2, America 2, India 2, Gorbachev 1, George H.w. Bush 1, George W. Bush 1, Mr. Andrews 1, Mr. Franks Affarizona 1, Mr. Turner 1, California 1, Virginia 1, Ohio 1, Colorado 1, United 1, Mr. Whitman 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    [untitled]  

    May 9, 2012
    5:00 - 5:30pm EDT  

otherwise not happen. becoming a sigatory on this type of conduct without congressional approval appears intended to implement international policy that congress has not agreed to. i'm very troubled by that. who knows what the next step would be? could it be nuclear reductions and furtherance of the president's goal of a world without nuclear weapons. let's don't go down this path and do so in the area of code of conduct in outer space. this amendment sends a clear and unambiguous guidance to ensure that we will have congressional oversight on matters pertaining to u.s. freedom of operation in space.
we enjoy an asymmetrical advantage over the other countries in the world in our space operations. we need to preserve that and not willingly give that away. this amendment also requires the secretary of state and defense to submit periodic reports on the progress of negotiations and international agreements concerning outer space activities which keeps us in the loop by giving us oversight. agreements in the codes of conduct wouldn't restrict our action in space and potentially negating advantages that we work so hard and invested so much money to attain. the executive branch must keep congress informed on negotiations of potential international agreements with other countries on matters that effect our defense and intelligence activities in outer space. that's the reason behind this
amendment and i would ask for the committee to consent to it. thank you and i yield back. >> satellites are crucial for national, economic personal security. they help u.s. soldiers in harm's way and minimize. support first responders, disaster relief workers, modern agriculture, etc., etc. we are the country that has a lot of satellites. satellites are increasingly vulnerable and harder to protect from debris and hostile action. the tests including by china endangered over 4,000 satellites. u.s. satellites are now at risk
mostly from space debris but also from a growing competition with china and the absence of rules of the road. what we're talking about is rules of the road. right now anybody can put anything up there if they can get it into space. so a code of conduct, we are not saying adopt the e.u. code of conduct. we are saying we need to negotiate some rules of the road in space otherwise our satellites are going to be the ones that are hurt. and worse, china wants to have its own code of conduct and it's talking to brazil and india. so either we get together and we discuss this with our european allies and others and bring brazil and india in with us or there might be a completely different road. we might be wanting to drive on the right side of the world and maybe china puts in the system with so many others following it to drive on the left side of the
road. this is the reason why we need to discuss, have the ability to discuss. this is not about going around the congress. there are presidents for codes of conduct. in 1972 the nixon administration negotiated an incidents at sea agreement to help prevent dangerous games of chicken involving warships and submarines. in 1989 president george h.w. bush negotiate a dangerous military practices agreement with gorbachev. the george w. bush administration agreed to two codes of conduct to help combat proliferation. all of these useful diplomatic initiatives took the form of executive agreements, not treaties, because they don't control or reduce military
forces. in fact, our joint chief of staff support the administration's effort to negotiate a code and they have been closely consulted. although they have raised potential for impacts on defense activities they have expressed support for this approach as the u.s. enters into discussion to resolve areas of disagreement. >> will the gentle lady yield? >> i would yield. >> a quick question for you. there is no objection to treaties per se as long as congress has been in the loop. for instance the senate ratifies a treaty and congress has been consulted. that is all that this amendment does. it says the administration can't go and do these without congress. >> that is one of the reasons i showed you where the president has gone and talked and has been able to put in place a code of conduct and has been able to
negotiate some of these without all of this having to be involved. that doesn't mean that they are not talking to the military. it means it is a diplomatic effort. yours would keep them away from doing that. and that's why i'm opposed to it and i hope that my colleagues will oppose it. >> gentle lady yields back. chair now yields to mr. franks affarizona for five minutes. >> i wanted to thank for gentleman for bringing this amendment forward. i think it's very insightful and it is a clear example of long range thinking. historically each time that the united states has entered into almost any kind of treaty we have been very acidious in doing everything we could to follow that treaty. we have not always been afforded the reciprocal courtesy. i suggest that a new start is a
good example of what happens when we don't negotiate in a way that is only in the best interest of the united states. we in the first phase of new start reduced our strategic war head counts significantly without really impacting the russians a great deal when the tactical war heads were left completely out of the equation and part of that promise was that we would modernize our nuclear weapons capability. and it just seems like over time things degrade. and to give a president as flexible as this one the ability to enter into treaties without congressional approval on something as critical as our space assets and our space access is, i think, a foolish
ernd on our part and i hope we suggest that. >> gentleman from california, five minutes. >> some time ago mr. andrews suggested that we try to avoid presidential politics as we continue this work. that seems to be very difficult to achieve since comment after comment seems to go back to presidential politics. we got really important issues to deal with and we are continuing admiring ourselves down in presidential politics. secret deals. in fact, i believe the treaty was approved by the senate. the question there was not only one of the remaining nuclear weapons but their capability.
it's been certified as required by law the nnsa and laboratories and others have certified that our nuclear stockpile is safe and secure and reliable. how much money you need to continue that in years out is worthy of a debate. it is not debatable unless some of us think we are more qualified than those nuclear physicists to make the determination that they are safe, secure and reliable. we can debate the amount of money and we should. we ought to leave presidential politics out of this. this amendment however severely limits our ability to protect ourselves. this amendment severely limits the ability of the department of defense and our intelligence agencies to engage in discussions in reaching agreements that would fall less than a treaty in their nature. about things that are really
important in space. the ranking member clearly laid out a series of agreements that have been reached over time that are extremely important to this nation about how to conduct aircraft flights, how to do numerous other things so that we are able to continue to protect the nation without falling into dangerous territory where satellites might collide in space and setting off all kinds of problems or airplanes might collide in the air space setting off all kinds of problems. it is wise to engage in discussions with people that are perhaps our competitors or perhaps our enemies. but to shut it off entirely as this amendment would do makes no sense at all. so we ought to proceed. and at any moment this house and the senatet have the opportunity
to engage. if we think something is going in the wrong direction we could stop it by bulling opulling out money. there is no indication that these discussions are going in the wrong direction at least not as presented here or in the subcommittee. why are we doing this? it doesn't make much sense to stop the process of trying to coordinate activities in space unless somebody knows something that has not yet been said here this doesn't make much sense to do this. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes gentleman from ohio mr. turner for five minutes. >> i want to speak in favor and support of the amendment that would prohibit this administration from entering into a binding agreement which would affect our ability to operate in space. our constitution, we are always
amazed when we look to the constitution of the foresight of ourfore fathers. when they put in the constitution that no president would have the ability to bind us to another nation they understood the risk of allowing one man to bind us to a foreign nation without the consent of the government. they put in a mechanism, a fail safe, if you will, so that one man can't bind us to another nation without the review and discourse over what the effects are on our freedoms, our security and international security. therefore the senate was placed in as the back stop where the vigorous and open debate would occur on the terms and effects of an agreement to bind us. this e.u. code of conduct is absolutely an agreement that would restrict our capabilities in space. everyone knows that we are the
preeminate force in space. we should not ever allow one man by agreement to negotiate that away. if the provisions that the president wishes to bind the united states to are so good, go to the senate and defend them. that's all we are saying. we don't have to debate them here although i would say there are many that i would have serious concerns about. what the constitution says is that the president has to debate it in the senate. this provision says this president who says he does not intend would not have that authority. we would like to restricting the funds. i support the amendment. i support the constitution. i support the senate having absolute ability to review the president's ability to bind us to another nation. with that i yield back. >> gentleman yields back.
gentleman from virginia, mr. whitman, five minutes. >> i would like to yield to the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you. i will answer representative's question why we are doing this. let me give you an example. recently a foreign government labelled the u.s. military's use of the space space infrared satellites which can be used for warning and tracking of intercontine intercontine intercontinental ballistic missiles as a space weapons program. we have governments out there that would call our defensive satellites that give us warning a weapons program. i don't agree with that assessment. and yet that's what we could have under something like the e.u. code of conduct.
people would label u.s. activities and paint it in a wrong light and try to restrict our activities. that's exactly why we're doing this. so to answer the question, we don't want other countries dictating what we can and can't do just because of an overly restrictive view on what we are doing in space. also, our own ellen tousher, former chair woman of the strategic forces subcommittee recently said back in january that the e.u. draft code of conduct was too restrictive. so that lends credence to this amendment wanting to not have the administration enter into binding agreements on anything similar to the e.u. code of
conduct. so even if you call it something else like an international code of conduct -- i think that's what the administration is labelling as an alternative approach. let's don't go down the road of letting binding agreements be made without senate and congressional oversight and approval. that's what this amendment does. i would urge its adoption. >> would the gentleman yield? >> yes. >> is a code of conduct the same thing as a treaty? >> a treaty requires senate approval. >> and a code of conduct does not? is that correct? >> i'll ask staff to help on that interpretation. >> if you would like to yield. >> can i yield the balance of my time to mr. turner. >> we had a hearing on this very
matter in our subcommittee. in the hearing it is clear that this would have the effect of having a restriction on u.s. operations. any item that is an agreement of our nation binding us to another nation where we agree to restrict our operations, our military operations, use, capabilities is, in effect, and absolutely a treaty. and as that when this administration believes that it is advisable to enter into such an agreement the constitution requires that those go before the senate. that is what this amendment does. it says this is going to restrict our capabilities. we believe it should go before the senate. >> gentleman, time has expired. if there is no further discussion on this -- >> mr. chairman, here. >> gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. a code of conduct for how america participates with other nations in the orderly trafficking of satellites in outer space would not be binding on the u.s. from a -- i guess -- an international -- >> will gentleman yield? >> wey will. >> we had this hearing in our subcommittee. we would be glad to give you the transcript of the hearing. specifically the code of conduct as approached by this administration would restrict the authority, capabilities of the united states and thfr would be a treaty. it's a contract. it's an agreement. contracts between nations are treaties, agreements that require senate approval.
that's what this amendment does. >> will the gentleman yield? >> if i may -- this sounds like something because we do a lot of commercial activity up in outer space. and what is it that brings to the mind of those who support this argument that this is just simply for military purposes that we operate in outer space? isn't it the fact that we operate commercial vehicles or commercial satellites along with other nations of the world? >> will the gentleman yield? >> if, in fact, we are doing so and i don't think it's questionable that that's a fact, but shouldn't we as a
responsible nation -- we would not as the chinese did a couple of years ago without notice to anyone they fired off a missile and destroyed a satellite, one of their own satellites in outer space. and that is not something that is commercially reasonable. so who in congress is going to start a dialogue and put together a treaty or a code of conduct as i would call it? who in congress would undertake that responsibility? if no one in congress is particularly interested in doing
that because we get mired in politics down here what arm of government, which branch of government would be best suited to engage in dialogue with other nations whose executives would be the ones to engage in this kind of discourse? how would we -- >> will the gentleman yield? >> we don't want to have many situations like china did a couple of years ago. >> you raise a very good point. the amendment doesn't say the president of the united states can't undertake such negotiations and discussions. it says he can't bind us unless he goes to the senate and makes the case that the deal he struck, treaty, is the right one for the country. i'm certain our staff would be
glad to provide you a briefing that would show. >> with you claiming my time i think that the constitution of the united states which is beyond contesting, i don't think the obama administration would contest the fact that a treaty is something that has to be approved by the senate. >> then you are in support of the amendment? >> now i'm questioning whether or not it's necessary. i don't see it as being necessary. so if it's not necessary it must be political and so therefore i would oppose it for that reason. and now i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now -- his tongue tied. the chair now recognizes
gentleman from new jersey for five minutes. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. i oppose this amendment because i believe what it does is legislate on a hypothetical which i don't think is the proper course. as i read the law there are three kinds of situations where the united states can be bound in international agreement. the first is the treaty clause under the constitution that sets forth a super majority procedure in the senate. the second widely recognized provision is what is referred to as executive branch/congressional agreements. trade agreements are the most frk example of this where a simple majority vote is necessary to bind the united states of america. there is a third category which we would refer to as executive,
sole executive agreements. that is to say where some agent of the executive branch makes an oral or written agreement designed to bind the country. there is a statute that deals with this. title 1 section 112 b of the u.s. code. what that siz is when there is such an agreement entered into that within 60 days of the agreement being entered into the secretary of state has to notify the house and the senate where presumably the house and the senate for all of our powers whether appropriations powers. there is a technical possibility that the executive branch could bind the united states at least for the 60 day period before this would happen. i guess i would ask anyone on
the other side. are there any examples where this administration has bound the united states to such an agreement and then complied with the 60-day notice that is in title one second 112 b. have they done that at all? >> i do not know but one addition from our hearing. they expressly stated in our hearing that they intended not to seek senate approval for this. >> and i apologize for not being present here and i'm not in your subcommittee. did they say that they were not going to submit it as a treaty? or did they say they intended to bind the united states and then comply with the 60-day provision? what did they say? >> we were having a discussion with respect to the treaty. they indicated that once it was passed that there would be regulations that would restrict the u.s. operations.
they did not mention any other approval process. >> not to be picky but that raises yet another issue. if an executive branch department promulgates regulations it does so under the administrative procedures act. i would just come back to this point and i don't expect you to know this answer. i don't either. i'm not aware of any situations since 2009 where this administration has entered into such an agreement and then made the 60-day notice. and the merts of such an agreement should be evaluated if it happens. i would think a far more prudent course here than passing a statute would be for members to write a letter. i'd sign it that would strongly urge the administration -- >> we would be glad to do another one. >> at the very least to subject such an agreement to the normal
legislative/executive majority rule process. i'd be in favor of that. i think tying their hands because of something we think they might do is a slippery slope that without any basis that i can tell on what they have done in the last three years is a slippery slope you do not want to go down. i would oppose the amendment because i think it is hypothetical and premature. i would be willing to sign a letter urging for a binding legislative process. i would yield back. >> no further discussion on the amendment. the questions on the adoption of the amendment. log 0302. so many in favor say aye. those opposed say no. the ayes have it. amendment is agreed to --
>> mr. chairman, a recorded vote, please. we'll roll this vote to the end of the subcommittee mark. any additional amendments on this subcommittee mark? >> i have an amendment. >> will the court please pass out the amendment? without objection reading of the amendment will be dispensed with.
chair will now recognize the gentleman. >> the amendment that you have before you is a response to the implementation of the new treaty. our subcommittee has been very active in olding hearings on the faeks of the implementation including a reflective review of the president's commitments that he had expressly stated were necessary for safely implementing. he indicated that the levels that we were going to go to in our stockpile and in the weapon was a number low enough that there were actions we needed to take. what this amendment does is it takes those representatives by the president and his statements of what was necessary. these are items that the